Republican state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo says he wants an “in-depth investigation” conducted by a third-party auditing firm to examine last week’s election in Wisconsin.
And if that investigation turns up evidence showing the result of the election was illegally altered, the New Berlin Republican told WisPolitics.com he’s been discussing with GOP colleagues a joint resolution freeing the state’s Electoral College electors to “vote however they want.”
Spokesmen for the Biden campaign, state Dem Party and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz were not immediately available for comment.
In a press release, Sanfelippo cited examples of election administration he found suspicious, including: an ongoing legal battle over whether some 100,000 voters who the state Elections Commission suspects have moved should have been removed from the rolls; an increase in the number of voters who registered as “indefinitely confined,” a designation that does not require a photo ID for registration; two so-called “Democracy in the Park” events that allowed Madison voters to drop off absentee ballots; and action by WEC to deny ballot access to some third-party candidates.
The Elections Commission voted 5-1 in September that entertainer Kayne West’s campaign filed its nomination papers too late to qualify for the ballot. The commission split 3-3 on a challenge to Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and the state Supreme Court refused to add him to the ballot.
An Elections Commission spokesman told WisPolitics.com the movers’ case is still before the state Wisconsin Supreme Court and the commission could not make any change to state voter registration rolls while that case is pending. The high court heard oral arguments on the case on Sept. 29.
Meanwhile, Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe also told reporters in October she believed Madison ballot collection events were permitted.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos as well as state GOP Chair Andrew Hitt sent letters to the Madison clerk’s office decrying the events. But Wolfe said that because as far as she was aware ballots were returned and not issued at the events, they did not violate the two-week early voting window and were permitted.
Both Wolfe and a number of municipal and county officials have also expressed confidence in recent days the election was run cleanly and fairly.
Still, Sanfelippo said he is calling for a third-party investigation, but said he did not have a specific firm in mind. In the release, he said if that investigation finds foul play, “we need to either declare this past election null and void and hold a new election or require our Electoral College Delegates to correct the injustice with their votes.”
But he told WisPolitics.com there’s nothing in state law that would allow for that.
“We are definitely in uncharted waters,” he said in an interview. “I think that we should do a joint resolution between the Assembly and the Senate so the electors can vote however they want.”
Sanfelippo said he’s discussed such a joint resolution with “a few” of his colleagues but hadn’t reached out to all of them yet. He acknowledged a joint resolution wouldn’t carry the full weight of law and would instead represent “a very clear and concise message that we just want a legitimate winner.”
There is no penalty in state law for so-called “faithless electors,” Electoral College voters who cast a ballot that deviates from the popular vote.
Instead, state law allows the party that wins the presidential election to nominate the state’s Electoral College delegation and requires them to “vote by ballot for that person for president and that person for vice president who are, respectively, the candidates of the political party which nominated them.”
Quizzed on why he would pursue a joint resolution instead of a bill, he told WisPolitics.com Gov. Tony Evers was “not going to sign the deal because he’s involved in all of this.”
“We’re just fooling ourselves if we think we can pass a bill and get this governor to sign it, he’s way too political for that,” Sanfelippo said.
Spokesmen for Evers, Vos and Fitzgerald were not immediately available for comment.
See state law on presidential electors:
See the list of Dem electors, which includes Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Rep. Shelia Stubbs and Dem Party Chair Ben Wikler, among others: